From romantic outings with gourmet meals, spa treatments and live entertainment, to unique options such as animal encounters, fun classes and moonlit skating, Ottawa offers countless ways to show someone you care. Need inspiration? Here are some ideas on how to create an unforgettable Valentine’s Day in the Ottawa region, on and around February 14, 2023.
You don’t need a special occasion to treat yourself or a loved-one to a delicious meal, but the Valentine’s Day period is a great time to take advantage of exclusive offers. Many of the city’s pubs, restaurants and food retailers feature special deals and packages such as takeout and prepared meals as well as dine-in experiences. See what your favourite foodie spot is offering, or get inspired with our list of member restaurants, as well as suggestions for international cuisine, vegetarian and vegan fare, as well as Halal food options in Ottawa.
Deemed as the two of the most romantic restaurants in Ottawa by OpenTable, Cantina Gia and Riviera are both great picks for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. You can expect the most delicious Italian comfort food from Cantina Gia, complete with a wine shop while Riviera creates high-end Canadian cuisine dishes.
Plan a relaxing or romantic outing at local spas, two of which are indoor-outdoor oases just a short drive north of downtown Ottawa. Nordik Spa-Nature in Chelsea, Québec is the largest spa of its kind in North America, offering Scandinavian-inspired facilities such as cold and warm pools, hot tubs, saunas, massages, treatments and multiple dining options. Kōena Spa, located closer to Ottawa within the city of Gatineau, Québec, offers similar Nordic-style thermal experiences, but on a smaller scale and with a Hawaiian flair. Or get pampered at classic urban locations including Holtz Spa in downtown Ottawa, Renu Massage Therapy and Spa (multiple locations), or Au Naturel Spa at the Brookstreet hotel in the west-end suburb of Kanata.
Go out, stay home or get tickets for a later date for live and/or virtual entertainment including music, dance, theatre, comedy and more. Venues and artists across the region offer in-person, livestreamed or recorded shows, some of which are free! A variety of programming is always offered by the National Arts Centre, Music & Beyond, Ottawa Jazz Festival, Ottawa Chamberfest, Casino Lac-Leamy Theatre, Canadian Tire Centre, TD Place, Nouvelle Scène and Yuk Yuk’s Ottawa. To stay informed on live music events at local bars, pubs and venues, follow Live Music Lovers Ottawa.
You can also enjoy free horse-drawn carriage rides through the historic ByWard Market neighbourhood on February 14, 2023, from 5 PM - 7 PM.
Chocoholics love the truffles, bombs, and specialty items from Stubbe Chocolates, the beautiful creations from Alicja Confections, as well as the personalized ChocoSelfie fondue in a can from Canadian chain Chocolats Favoris. Need even more chocolate? Go on a Chocolate Lover’s Tour with C’est Bon Ottawa. Enjoy afternoon tea boxes from Quelque Chose Patisserie (known for their macarons) and Vanitea Room (known for vegan options). Get bite-sized baked goods from the Cupcake Lounge and Red Door Provisions, cute cookies from Moulin de Provence, fancy doughnuts from SuzyQ and Mavericks Donuts, as well as decadent desserts from Mantovani 1946 and Stella Luna. Shops like Thyme & Again and Chez François – Plaisirs de Provence also have foodie finds of all kinds.
Treat that special someone and the community at the same time by shopping local. Maker House has lots of all-Canadian options, including gift boxes that range from funny to romantic. Shops like Boogie + Birdie and Kindred Shop and Studio carry Canadian-made jewelry, housewares and other lovely gift items for everyone—even pets! Browse the Ottawa Artisans website for handmade creations, some of which can be personalized and customized, as well as the online Indigenous Marketplace or in-person boutique at Mādahòkì Farm for Indigenous-made items of all kinds.
Get up close and personal with each other—and with beautiful animals. Park Omega in Montebello, Québec has multiple options: take a Canadian-style, self-driven safari to view wildlife such as bears, wolves and elk; cuddle up during a dog-sledding experience; or stay overnight in a cozy cabin overlooking the wolf den. At the exotic animal rescue Little Ray’s Nature Centre, you can see mammals, invertebrates and birds on a private zoo tour, and even reserve an unforgettable VIP sloth encounter. Visit Captiva Farms near Wakefield, Québec for magical horseback riding experiences on snowy winter trails.
Get the endorphins flowing by getting some fresh air within the city or in the nearby countryside. Fun winter activities like tobogganing, hiking and ziplining can help you reconnect with your inner child, while snowshoeing, cross-country skiing as well as downhill skiing and snowboarding are a great way to get your heart pumping before getting cozy. Ice skating is quite romantic in the evening, especially as you glide hand in hand on the Rideau Canal Skateway or on forest trails. Prefer a motorized option? Hold on to each other tightly as you zoom on the many snowmobiling trails in the region. Don’t forget about Winterlude, the outdoor festival that takes place in the Ottawa region every February! You and your love can walk along Sparks Street and admire the ice sculpture installations along the way.
Create a deeper connection by learning new skills together, in person or virtually. Cooking classes are fun and easy with professional chefs at C’est Bon Ottawa and Urban Element. Themed options include couples classes, Indigenous cuisine and chocolate desserts—online classes even include the delivery of ingredients!
Work off some calories by taking online dance classes with studios such as Arthur Murray, Dance with Alana, Broadway Workout and Moov Ottawa.
Get your hands dirty at Ace Arte Studio and make pottery together.
Plant lovers would appreciate Flowers Talk Tivoli’s Zen floral workshops.